Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wouldn't you rather be watching Torchwood? The Brits liveblog

"Tomorrow's tabloids in the making" promises the continuity announcement, with what we can only assume are fingers crossed.

Mika's up first, then, doing a song that feels about four years old already. The giant finch hanging from the stage is a nice touch, mind. For some reason he's dressed as a matador. This year's Scissor Sisters, isn't it?

Mika opens a small door, and out pops Beth Ditto - like a faux indie version of Hearsay Its Saturday. She's wearing one of those silly little perching on head hats; they attempt to meld Love Today and Standing In The Way Of Control into one song - with limited success. This really does feel like I Love 2006. Mika's still going on - Ditto's disappeared, and so has the giant cutout finch.

Tom Baker is doing the voiceovers again - another warm-twenty-four-months-ago touch.

Sharon and Ozzy have come on stage, with the kids - nepotism, nepotism. Sharon is screeching like she's never been on stage before. Ozzy is stood looking lost.

"If you think this is over the top, wait to see what we've got in store for you later" screeches Sharon. It's not over the top, dear, it's struggling to rise to the occasion.

Award one: best live act. "A very naughty man" is presenting - "he gets loads of complaints, but let's face it, all the best people do these days" says Sharon. Eh? What does that mean? Talent is no longer capable of entertaining without offending? Isn't that a bit sad.

It's Moyles, who's come out. Oh god, Kelly and Jack are apparently sticking around for the whole show. Why?

Actually, Moyles seems to be auditioning for hosting the show - he'd actually have been better at it than the gaggle who got the gig.

So, best live act, then - sponsored by Radio 2 (but don't say it out loud). If it's sponsored by Radio 2, shouldn't Terry Wogan be presenting?

Obviously, the prize goes to Take That.

The prize, apparently, is a sign that "pop is back", which seems to have been decided is the official line of the show. (Although why have a rock icon presenting them, then?)

Take That are very polite. Mark Owen appears to be wearing some sort of lady's neckerchief and matching blouse. It's very fetching.

Jason thanks the riggers and truck drivers - see, very polite indeed.

Kelly and shambledad come forward to introduce the heavily-trailed Rhianna/Klaxons duet.

They're in a giant pyramid - it looks a bit like a offcut from the Crystal Maze.

Oh. It's not a very happy marriage, either; less a collaboration, more Rhianna singing her hit despite what the Klaxons are doing. Oops.

(The tabloids will tell you this is amazing tomorrow.)

This is going to bemuse the people who like the song, while not really persuading people to sample The Klaxons. Maybe they should have tried a different song? But then celebrating 2007 without having Umbrella would miss the point a little.

Fearne is backstage, padding out the show with backstage interviews. Mark Owen seems to suggest the That got last year's awards copied down the arcade by the bloke who cuts the keys from a stall outside Marks and Spencers.

The Hit40 stations get a clear mention for their support on the Best Single prize. Jesus - The Hoosiers made the shortlist? No wonder Ricky Wilson was annoyed at being left off.

First break: Jack Black's done one of his wacky films, then. Oh good.

Yikes... it's that bloody scary Lloyds TSB advert. That gives me nightmares, it really does. And since when did Lloyds and trains go together?

And we're back. Sharon's STILL EXCITED. It's no surprise, she tells us, that Adele's won the "critic's choice" award. She's a lovely girl, apparently. Jack is settling into a thousand yard stare.

Sharon makes a lame gag about Will Young being gay, which is met with a slightly stunned silence.

Will tries to explain the critic's choice award - he can tell us what it is, but not why. What's the point?

Blah blah blah Brits school blah roll of honour blah Amy Winehouse...

Adele has celebrated by getting an even bigger bun for the back of her head. "I'm not gonna speak for too long cause I think big speeches are borin'". She instead churns out a long list of thanks instead. Because that's much more compelling.

British Breakthrough Act

What is Sharon talking about? What?

Jonathan Rhys Myers is presenting - ten years since Velvet Goldmine, you know.

Radio One has supported the breakthrough act; this is probably the only interesting competition of the evening. Unless it goes to Mika.

It goes to Mika.

Mika bellows like a man who has caught his penis in a revolving door.

He's beaten Bat For Lashes, Kate Nash, The Klaxons... and yet it feels like his career has already peaked.

Presumably the parachuting in of Kelly and Jack must have been a result of some terrible rehearsals? Kelly never mentioned she was presenting during the nominations.

Ew, what is Kylie wearing? It looks like one of Carol Vorderman errors from mid-period Countdown. The presence of Daft Punk style blokes in tinfoil suits doesn't disguise that Wow is probably her weakest single since... well, The Locomotion. And the 'wow wow wow wow' bit sounds like when you put your hand over your ear and open and close it quickly.

Kylie's hair seems to have been inspired by the Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn Monroe photoshoot.

Ooh, she's got some half-hearted glitter, like she's won quarter of a million on deal or no deal.

Backstage, Fearne asks Adele if winning has sunk in yet. "I found out in December" points out Adele. I'm warming to her.

Another break: Weetabix this time - try it with some fruit on. Yeah. It's like advertising toilet roll with advice to "have a go with it doubled it".

Why have Cadburys brought back the Crunchie advert from so long ago? It looks horrible on modern high-def television.

"Welcome back" screeches Sharon, stumbling over her speech. It's one of Destiny's Child! Oh, but it's only Kelly Rowland. And she's only presenting a prize, but neither Sharon nor Kelly O bothered to mention what the award was for. Kelly picks up the slack. It's International Male time.

Kanye West has won. He's sent a tape because he can't be arsed to plod over to London to get the statue. He does some mildly amusing business about being humble, before thanking Westwood. And "most importantly the fans".

Sharon's confused about the next category. Kelly laughs in panic. Neither woman has a clue how to get back to where they should be. It's falling apart.

So they wheel on Beth Ditto with the British male prizes. Ditto also stumbles over the category name.

And the winner is... Mark Ronson. Well, if they still did a best producer prize he'd have won that, and at least it's not Mika. Is it entirely fair for the soloist prize to go to someone who isn't a soloist.

Ronson does a gag about having "some notes", waving around sheafs of paper. Old, but at least he's making an effort. And he admits that he's not really a soloist, too.

We commend to you at this point David Hepworth's piece in the Independent on the Brits, where he points out that its twin aims are efforts doomed to fail - nobody outside the UK is interested in an event where 'Cumbawamba throw water over John Prescott' is considered to be a highlight, and in the always on, instant reaction world of scrobbling and blogging, celebrating the songs from last year in February is a little late.

Jack Osbourne takes the lead in introducing the Kaisers - although Ozzy does get to say "Iwaaarryouuallltogacraaaeeforthekaissercheeese".

They're doing Ruby on what Fearne Cotton had promised would be the "craziest" Brits set ever. It's some scaled down models. It looks like the opening credits to The House of Tiny Tearaways.

They're off key, too.

Beth helpfully points out that Mark Ronson has won loads of awards and so, effectively, a Brit ain't so much. Mark mumbles something to try and take the sting from that rude-but-true observation.

Another break?

Oh, they're trying to push Kinder chocolate as an adult chocolate still, are they? That's never going to work, unless they put porno toys in the eggs.

Over on the Guardian liveblog (from within the event - get them), Rosie Swash reveals that Missy Elliott's guest of honour is Lulu. Which is more interesting than the show itself.

As if on cue, Kelly O says that this where the show gets interesting - as if admitting the first hour has been a bit ho-hum.

Ah! Here's David Tennant, with an internation female prize. Now, a cynic would expect Rhianna to win this, what with her doing the show and all.

Ah, but Kylie is also up for it. She gets the prize, too - how many more times are Tennant and Minogue going to share stages?

God, it takes Kylie an age to get to the podium. Could they not have sat the nominees nearer the front? Trevor starts at Ten sharp these days with the news, you know.

Sharon mentions the X Factor to remind us that she's not always rubbish on live tv and to try and suggest that, somehow, Leona Lewis owes it all to her. A "fabulous talent", apparently.

Sorry for not mentioning the commenters, by the way: Sharon/Harry Hill very apt, anon. And, yes, Mat, you've nailed the thing that's been bugging me. Expensive hair, wide mouth - Kelly is Shami Chakrabarti tonight, isn't she?

Leona Lewis actually turns out to be not so very good - it's a nice backing vocal, but it's all screeching otherwise. Still, she gets more glitter than Kylie did. Probably to make up for losing that prize to Mika earlier.

The kids are having a go now - Kelly struggles with "Olivier award", as if she'd never heard of Sir Larry. Andrew Lloyd Webber has come on - he'd be BBC1's answer to Sharon Osbourne, if you think about it - and done some business with Denise Van Outen. (She'll work with anyone - Vaughan in the morning, Milord Webber at night). They're doing the big International Award, none of whose nominees have been bothered to turn up.

It goes to The Foo Fighters, under the well known 'Dave Grohl's a nice chap (apart from the AIDS business)' rule governing awards ceremonies.

James Nesbitt is now dragging himself up on stage - somehow even more out of place than on Buzzcocks - but reminds everyone the football is on Sky before the British female prize.

Something else David Hepworth said is that the British/International distinction is meaningless in the 21st century - and wouldn't you want to see Bat For Lashes take on Feist instead of Leona Lewis?

Kate Nash wins. Another Brits school winner for this award, points out Fearne, which makes the whole thing seem even more like a closed shop than an open competition.

Extemporising, Kate Nash is a lot less fascinating than she is on record. She even thanks Virgin Publishing.

Good lord - in a bid to try and shore up ITV2's purchase of Bionic Woman (a buy-in that doesn't seem quite so smart now) Michelle Ryan is on with the winner of International Album.

The Foo Fighters have been judged to be better than The Eagles. In this context. Dave Grohl mildly takes the piss out of Kula Shaker on his taped acceptance.

It's the kids again, barking up the "very special" bit - Mark Ronson and... Adele. Not... you know, Amy Winehouse, then? Because it's not like she'll be backstage to come on and surprise everyone halfway through, is it?

Considering how humble Mark Ronson seemed picking up his award, it's hilarious the stage consists of giant marquees with his name on them.

Why, who's this? That's not Winehouse. It's the Stop Me bloke again. Nobody stops him, unfortunately. And the 'You Keep Me Hanging On' snatch isn't clever when the meandering last longer than the actual song you were supposed to be singing.

And now, here's someone else. Surprise! (Not, you know, actually surprising) Yes, its Winehouse. Not doing it that well - like a child in a karaoke competition, to be honest - but (like the dog on hind legs) it's amazing you're seeing it at all. The trouble is she's clearly TRYING for it now. The one thing she always used to have was an air of effortlessness.

But perhaps that's just the nerves at coming back. And, seriously: Better her here, doing that, than to be covering her funeral.

Yet another break. This is, after all, commercial television. They're showing the advert for Heinz Microwave Beans - the ones which imply that, somehow, opening a ring-pull can and hearing on a stove is somehow a complex operation.

Mikey: assuming you come back at 9.50 and don't turn over for the next episode of Torchwood on BBC3... marks out of ten for tonights 'Wood?

And Random - an eight year old boy's haircut on a thirtysomething woman is an expensive undertaking indeed. Have you any idea how much it costs to scalp a child these days?

Daniel Merriweather. That's the bloke who did Stop Me. ON THE BRITS STAGE. Why? Why? It's like the BAFTAs giving stage space to a bloke from Hollyoaks.

Uh-oh - looks like Sharon just swore, and the seven second delay involved just slowing the tape down so she sounded like she was Godzilla. Some gag about Simon Cowell.

Ian McKellen off Coronation Street comes on, and does a joke about wanting to meet Mika. It falls rather flat.

But at least they don't have to slow it down.

The Arctic Monkeys have shown up to accept their award. Sell-outs! Sell-outs!

They're dressed as country gentlemen - To The Manor Born chic - although the joke actually makes them seem like they're the Kaiser Chiefs for some reason.

They've got a duck call and a decoy with them. If someone rushed on stage with a gun and a labrador, thay'd make it funnier.

Kelly is now introducing "my dera friend" Amy Winehouse - according to Mitch Winehouse and Closer, it's the Osbournes who are getting her straight. But would you really choose to kick heroin just to turn into Sharon? Hard to credit.

Doing Love Is A Losing Game, she looks quite awkward - not in the drug-era, about-to-topple-over way, but in a 'how does this work again' way? And she looks more like Gaynor Faye than ever.

"Make some noise for my husband, my Blake". Uh-oh.

Sharon's been allowed to introduce Alan Carr all on her own. She delivers the words - some joke about Ding Dong, obviously - with the panache of a 1980s text-to-speech programme.

So, who's got single of the year - voted for by the people who are watching this programme? (The world's most sophisticated electorate, expect for those voting for Man of the Match on Sky One.)

It's Take That - but apparently only just ahead of Leona Lewis; paradoxically, then, appearing live seems to have hurt rather than helped her.

Take That are now a little more drunk. But still quite polite. What is Alan Carr doing in the background with the two Osbourne women?

Sharon chases Take That off the stage - at least she's handy when you need to pick up the pace. Until she starts talking and goes waffling off again.

Vic Reeves has come on with what I think is the fifteenth prize that Sharon has described as the "big one". Reeves hasn't actually thought his bit through. And doesn't seem to know where he is. In these circumstances, its important to have a host who can smooth things over.

Osbourne Mere screeches and yells. Sharon keeps telling Vic to piss off as they fight over the winner. The Arctic Monkeys look a little frightened at having to go onstage while Osbourne shouts "pisshead" and Reeves tries to grab the card back.

This is how the BPI thinks they can sell records in the emerging markets.

The Monkeys roam about while Osbourne shouts "bloody hell... get a move on... what have they come as?" - apparently unaware she's wearing a microphone, and on live television.

The producers give up and cut from the stage to Fearne in a bid to try and keep to some sort of timings. It turns out they're keen to make sure that Paul McCartney's set splits nicely betweent ITV and ITV2. The one night of the year that News At Ten might stand a chance of giving the Ten O'Clock a run for its money, and they're scuttling its chances by pied-piper like leading away of half the audience.

Another break. Let's hope it's long enough for them to sort Sharon out. And maybe see if someone can find out what's happened to Ozzy, who we don't think we've seen for about an hour.

Ooh, there's a trail for the Tens - a desperate appeal for a missing child... full details after the Brits. That's not too tacky, then.

Paul McCartney's being lined up - and even Ozzy is back to introduce "Mr Sir Paul McCartney". As everyone else panics "not yet... not yet..." Yes, Ozzy's had one thing to do in sixty minutes, and fucks it up.

"She's a survivor like me..." - yes, Sharon's trying to introduce Kylie as if they're sisters under the skin. Kylie is the closest thing to a safe pair of hands the show's had on stage in a while (why hadn't she been asked to present the whole thing?).

Here's Macca, then, getting his first Brit Award, more or less. He's wearing a sensible coat, fully-buttoned up. Must be feeling the chill at his age.

"Thats it from us" says Kelly Osbourne; Sharon explains who Paul McCartney is like a headteacher forced to do a religious bit in assembly, and claims that Ozzy has played Paul's music every day she's known him. Considering he was off his skull for a large chunk of it, that seems a little unlikely - "I'll have some drugs, but I'll pop on Band On The Run first"?

Macca takes the stage to show why he's picking up the lifetime achievement award - and launches into recent fab-wacky-by-numbers plodder Dance Around. It's like DaVinci getting an innovation award and saying thank you by inventing a trouser press or something.

In other words: McCartney has, inarguably, written some bloody brilliant songs in his time - so why isn't he doing one of those instead of trying to push his most recent album?

This is a bit more like it - and by "it", we mean "that set he did at Glastobury a few years back" - Live And Let Die. He appears to have some fireworks for it, but mostly film of fireworks. Live And Let The Guy From Health And Safety Have A Look At The Plans, then.

Anonymous commenter - if the Osbournes had been any more over the place, they'd probably have announced McCarthy, and I think under the rules they'd have been obliged to play.

He's onto Hey Jude, now. You might have trouble hearing it over the sound of Yoko grinding her teeth. What's the betting in a couple of years they'll have to create some way of giving John a balancing prize, to be presented to, ooh, shall we say his widow? Not next year - that'd look too like a tit-for-tat. But we're betting on 2009.

So, what have we learned - as McCartney splits the audience into men and ladies for some singing of rounds, like at a church picnic? That the Osbournes were as bad as we'd feared - not wild, out of control, did-you-see-that-brilliant-thing wild, just half-arsed, bad-choice bad. Whoever parachuted Kelly and Jack in to prop them up probably deserves to be sent a box of thank you muffins from ITV - and how bad must something be if the presence of Kelly Osbourne makes things better?

The prizes didn't really go to anyone that surprising, but then the shortlist was uninspiring so that wasn't very surprising at all.

Kate Nash is less than we'd hoped; Mark Ronson is more charming than we'd expected; and Vic Reeves is never going to work again.

That wooshing sound you can hear? It's the 2008 Brit Awards ceremony vanishing into a vacuum. It felt less like the biggest night of music in the year, and more like that thing they do at kids parties where they show you some unrelated things on a tray, cover it up and see how many you can remmeber.

There was a duck... and, erm, a... was there a joke about bingo?


Anonymous said...

Thereby underlining the fact that The Gossip still only have one song then.

Simon said...

To reinforce your 2006 Returning theme, isn't this just an Umbrella/Golden Skans mashup?

Anonymous said...

So the "mind-blowing" collaboration was 95.6% Rihanna and 4.4% Klaxons?

Darth Hobo said...

Did Sharon Osborne announce Chris Moyles as having the biggest radio audience in the country?

Anonymous said...

Is it me, or is Sharon morphing into Harry Hlll before our very eyes?

Simon said...

Jack Osbourne seems to have morphed into Jack Penate.

Anonymous said...

Sharon Osbourne has the stage presence of a washing machine. And not even one with a particularly fast spin cycle.

Paul said...

Woo! Thousand Yard Stare!

Anonymous said...

Is Ozzy still there?

Anonymous said...

Kelly seems to be modelling herself on the lady from Liberty who's always on Question Time.

And Will Young sounds scarily like Bashir-era Diana.

Anonymous said...

Kaiser Chiefs tonight are sponsored by McAlpine Construction Plc (Model Village Division)

Mikey said...

Is that Will Sergeant in the Kaisers? Or some other tubby guitarist with a 1966 haircut?

Unknown said...

ahhhh, when fearne cotton promised "the kaiser chiefs with one of the weirdest sets the brits has ever seen" she meant sets as in a stage set. here was me thinking they were going to bust out a five minute freeform fusion of asha bhosle and vangelis

Adam Macqueen said...

When did Will Young turn into Matthew Kelly?

Anonymous said...

Is the women dancing to Superfreak on The Mastercard 'ad' the saxophonist from The Zutons?

Mikey said...

Right, I'm off to watch Torchwood. Slightly less predictable. Slightly.

Paul Wells said...

hmm... sharon just introduce Leona Lewis as 'the biggest' success from x-factor, didn't she mean to say 'the only'?

Anonymous said...

Shriek-ona Lewis - Whitney Houston has a lot to answer for.

Anonymous said...

Denise Van Outen makes Sharon Osbourne look professional.

Anonymous said...

Do they choose the award presenters by cutting out pictures from the Sunday Mail TV listings, pop them in an envelope, and draw them during lunch break to determine who presents what?

Anonymous said...

Mark Ronson is Mike Flowers Pops for a new generation

Unknown said...

shami chakrabarti has expensive hair? doesn't she more or less have the haircut of a 8-year-old boy?

Paul Wells said...

when people do the 'sorry i couldn't be there' bit to tape, why do they still bother to stick them in front of a recording studio background as if they are actually really really busy....
oh great, Amy Winehouse is here to give Gordon something to write about in his column tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

They must by paying Ozzy by the word.

Anonymous said...

Highlight of the evening - Paul Young looking down his nose at the Artic Monkey's absolutely hilarious dressing up.

Adam Macqueen said...

Did you see how many shots of Linda they managed to cram into that video package? Heather'll be on the phone to GMTV right now demanding a place on the sofa tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

Who's this old bloke on now? I thought the award was going to McCarthy, with Tim Gane doing a selection of numbers, hopefully taking in some Stereolab as well.

Adam Macqueen said...

They've just shown Jason Donovan standing next to Howard Donald: is all the seating done alphabetically?

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe Girls Aloud were SNUBBED (copyright Jo Whiney, every single tabloid blah etc) when this is the year that POP IS BACK.

Still, I enjoyed watching Ozzy toying nervously with his microphone, never knowing when he might be called upon to say something in the wrong place.

Anonymous said...

Poor the Ozzy, getting his only line wrong when he introduced McCartney too early.
Sharon: "Ozzy's been waiting to say his name all night!"
Ozzy: "It's Mr Sir Paul McCartney!"
All: "NOT YET!"

You rotten sods, you practically told him to say it! I'm beginning to think he's actually perfectly normal, and it's the rest of them making him think he's nuts. Wonder if they hide his things and invent the occasional past event they claim he's forgotten, like Michael did to Julie Martin in Neighbours fifteen years ago, to convince her she was going potty?

I missed the rest of the Brits, sadly - Was busy with Masterchef (hope Emily wins). Tuned in in time to see Vic Reeves undoing all my happy memories of Big Night Out. Is this why they don't often let him out without Bob? Or Les?

Thanks for enduring the show for the aces blog, by the way - Is it wrong of me to enjoy the bits about adverts most?

Hmmm, more Brits with Fearne on ITV2, or Chris Rock on Paramount? Tough call...

Jack said...

Thank you very much for all that. The Brits used to be something I'd sit down and watch (admittedly this was back in my early teens), but now I'm not at all annoyed that I forgot about it and spent the evening in the library working.

Anonymous said...

i love your blog, simon. have for years. i *knew* you'd be commenting as it happened, and i tuned in during the ad breaks. nice one x

Anonymous said...

After watching religiously for years, perhaps last night was my last Brits.

Anonymous said...

Poor Ozzy, every time he appeared on screen all i could think of was Frank Gallagher.....SCATTER !

Laura Brown said...

Re: Kylie's single:

And the 'wow wow wow wow' bit sounds like when you put your hand over your ear and open and close it quickly.

You know, I never thought of that before, but you're exactly right. Also, the first time I heard "Wow" on the radio, I seriously thought it was an old Paula Abdul track. I liked it better when I thought that.

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